<> Fantasy Cycling Teams - 2003 <>

Last modified: Sunday, 14 August, 2016

* As has become our custom, Lisa & I will be adding to our interest in this year's professional cycling season by following the fortunes of our own fantasy cycling teams. We've been doing this since 1997. We select our teams on the basis of each rider "costing" his total UCI ranking points earned last season divided by ten and rounded to the nearest five, with a minimum cost of twenty points and a maximum of 200.  We allow each team 550 points on this basis, with nine riders to be selected. No more than two riders in each team can be selected from the same real life trade team.  Throughout the season we score our riders performances in all the major races according to the points system adapted from one used by Roger Hughes in his Fantasy Cycling League. The tables below summarise the fortunes of our teams throughout the season.

[ Period One | Period Two | Period Three | Period Four | Period Five | Period Six | Period Seven | Period Eight | Season Review | Looking Forward ]

* This season's line-ups are now finalised. Steve's Nightowlers will again be led by Commendatore Mario Cipollini and Erik Zabel, backed up by David Millar. Regretably, Robert Hunter is ruled out by cost and new boys Robert Bartko, Andreas Klöden, Kurt van de Wouwer, Julian Winn and Mark Scanlon are added to Marco Velo in the support roles.

Lisa's big gamble is in retaining Jan Ullrich in her Ready Steady Riders. He was an expensive bust last season. She also retains Michele Bartoli, Christian Vandeveldte Ivan Gotti and the ever-present Andrea Tafi. Robbie McEwan, Richard Virenque, Axel Merckx and Romains Vainsteins come into a team that's clearly relying on experience.

* Steve's Nightowlers hit the ground running in Period One, clocking up their best-ever start thanks to strong contributions by Zabel, Klöden and Cipollini. New boys Vainsteins and McEwan prevented Lisa's Ready Steady Riders from starting with a duck... just.

* It was the turn of Steve's Nightowlers to stumble almost to a halt in Period Two (Zabel spared their blushes) but Lisa's Ready Steady Riders failed to capitalise, scoring only in Paris-Roubaix where Tafi & Vainsteins took 5th & 6th respectively.

* McEwan's sprinting in the Giro put points on the board for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders in Period Three. Cipollini went head-to-head with him in the Giro for Steve's Nightowlers, who also benefited from Zabel's second in the Rund um den Henniger Turm.

* David Millar's return to competition, with strong performances in the Classique des Alpes and the Criterium du Dauphine Libere, gave Steve's Nightowlers a boost in Period Four and Erik Zabel and Mark Scanlon took their respective National Championships. Jan Ullrich, in his turn, scored his first points for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders with his return to form in the Tour de Suisse and Robbie McEwan showed he's ready to take on Zabel again for the green points jersey in the forthcoming Tour de France.

* Lisa's Ready Steady Riders had a storming Tour de Fance (the only race in Period Five). With Ullrich second overall plus a stage win, McEwan second on points and Virenque winning the King of the Mountains plus a stage win that gave him a day in the yellow jersey, there wasn't a facet of the race they didn't dominate. For Steve's Nightowlers, Millar took a stage and Zabel came third on points to leave our two teams just two points apart going into the next period.

* Ullrich carried his Tour form forward into Period Six with strong perfrmances in the HEW Cyclassics Cup (3rd) and the Meisterschaft von Zurich (2nd) for Lisa's Ready Steady Riders while Michele Bartoli finally go off the mark, taking second in the Giro del Veneto. This meant they pulled ahead of Steve's Nightowlers who relied on Zabel for the bulk of their points.

* Steve's Nightowlers scored all their Period Seven points in the Vuelta a España. Millar won a stage and took two second places and Zabel won two stages, had several placings and took the points jersey. By contrast, Lisa's Ready Steady Riders scored all their points in one-day races that took place during the Vuelta. Bartoli won Italy's Giro del Lazio and McEwan came fourth in France's GP des Fourmies to maintain a slender lead going into the final period.

* Michele Bartoli brought the season to a close with a win in the Giro di Lombardia, the only points Lisa's Ready Steady Riders scored in Period Eight. Erik Zabel won the other autumn World Cup Race, Paris-Tours, for Steve's Nightowlers and also scored in the World Championship road race. David Miller took gold in the World Championship time trial to make the difference between the two teams at the end of the sason.

* Looking back over the season as a whole, Lisa's gamble paid off and Ullrich dominated the scoring for her Ready Steady Riders. In McEwan Lisa found herself a dependable sprinter and Messers Virenque and Bartoli did what was expected of them. Vainsteins and Tafi disappointed but not so badly as the insible Merckx, Gotti and Vandervelde.

Zabel scored in every period of the season, from Tirreno-Adriatico to the World Championships, to be the mainstay of Steve's Nightowlers yet again. Cipollini and Millar combined to cover the whole season too but Klöden disappered after Period One and van der Wouwer, Velo, Winn, Scanlon and Bartko failed to justify their inclusion in the team.

* It looks as though there will be a familiar mixture of old and new faces in our teams next season. Steve isn't likely to let Zabel, Cipollini or Millar go but will continue his search for a decent climber to add to the Nightowlers line-up. Ulrich, Bartoli, McEwan, Virenque and Tafi will surely be seen in Lisa's Ready Steady Riders next year and her search for an early season star will continue.

* See below for Ready Steady Riders' results.

@ N i g h t o w l e r s @
Rider Period Scores Total
Cost Score
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Kurt van de Wouwer                 0 20 0.00
Erik Zabel 27 4 10 6 17 15 34 30 143 200 0.72
Marco Velo     3           3 20 0.15
Mario Cipollini 20   16           36 175


Julian Winn                 0 20 0.00
Andreas Klöden 23               23 20 1.15
Robert Bartko     2           2 30 0.07
Mark Scanlon       4   5     9 20 0.45
David Millar       30 10 3 11 25 79 45 1.76
Total 70 4 31 40 27 23






@ R e a d y   S t e a d y   R i d e r s @
Rider Period Scores Total
Cost Score
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Robbie McEwen 2   16 3 16 3 6   46 195 0.24
Michele Bartoli           10 23 25


140 0.41
Richard Virenque     1 4 32       37 55 0.67
Andrea Tafi   10             10 40 0.25
Axel Merckx            


  0 35 0.00
Romans Vainsteins 2 8     4       14 25 0.56
Ivan Gotti                 0 20 0.00
Christian Vandevelde       2         2 20 0.10
Jan Ullrich       15 55 33     103 20 5.15
Total 4 18 17 24 107 46 29 25 270 550


* See above for Nightowlers' results.

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